Stocks are little changed in this morning’s session as investors anxiously await comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, scheduled for an interview in Washington at 12:40 PM today. While nothing of major substance is expected, there will be plenty of people focused on every single word … every single utterance … every single gesture … in the attempt to forecast the future of U.S. monetary policy. A lot of pressure sits on the shoulders of the Chairman. Better him than me. I find there is enough pressure writing this note.
One of the big items taking up headlines this morning is the continuing adoption/use/criticism (pick one) of alternative intelligence (“AI”) as competitors to ChatGPT … due to fear of missing out … are rapidly expressing their own plans for improvements in creativity at just the touch of a button … er … keyboard.
I don’t know … it just seems to be happening so fast. Personally, I never even knew this Chatbot stuff was so available and easy to use until just over a month ago … and now I see news stories almost everywhere I look. But in investing in the area similar to what many of us witnessed in the “dot.com” days … where mere mention would drive investors to your door? We shall see … but right now it seems this train is speeding up … and many are betting it can handle the sharp curve up ahead.
On another matter, labor is still an issue … as Deutsche Bank Research tells us the number of retirees is far outpacing the trend seen in recent years. What remains to be discussed is to what extent these retirees are taking social security … and, if they are, what additional strain that might place on the system.
Maybe we will hear more on social security in tonight’s State of the Union address. You know the event. It is where one party tells how wonderful things are … while the other party explains how terrible things happen to be. Then, in a few years, they all change uniforms … and the entertainment begins anew.
On a final note on the labor front … there is one area where jobs are still far below pre-covid levels … and that is in the number of teachers.
You would think with a declining demographic (school age children) this would not be an issue … but I chatted with one person this morning and they told me their schoolteacher spouse found their job challenging … not because of the politics but because of the disrespect elementary school children have … very young kids … talking back … cursing at teachers. Boy, things have changed greatly. It used to be that kids were afraid of their teachers. Now it seems that some teachers are very much afraid of the kids.
That’s about it for today as I need to wrap up soon.
I’m having a hard-to-get product installed that makes my basement look bigger.
It’s a big cellar.
Have a great day,
Joseph G. Witthohn, CFA
Emerald Asset Management PA, LLC
610 Freedom Business Center Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
cell: (856) 625-7915